One of the sad things for me as I've looked at the whole CombineMed/CombineNet situation over the past couple weeks is that it's clear that they had the right technology and solutions for the NHS job -- not to mention many others like it. As Sean Martyn noted in his long comment, the "bottom line is that CombineMed's technology is so unique and powerful that it did not need to be in this situation...CombineMed & UPMC could have played the whole thing straight and won the business on its merit". Sean suggests that it's the UK citizen that will lose the most in this deal because of "the savings opportunity that CombineMed would have brought in this and other sourcing projects". Clearly, at least in Sean's view, they had such a unique value proposition that they could have played by acceptable standards and won on their own merits without Americium's shenanigans.
I've taken a relatively close look at CombineNet's solutions in the past and spoken to numerous users over the years and near everyone is unanimous in their praise for the underlying technology and services teams. At least to me, it's clear that CombineNet is anything but a Computer Associates (CA) in the solutions that they deliver. CA, as many who've been in the IT world for sometime might recall, has a long history of unsavory behavior and, at least in some areas, of delivering tools that are anything but best of breed despite the claims of aggressive sales people who will do just about anything to get a deal. Historically, they've been the worst of both worlds -- in behavior and product. CombineNet, in contrast, really does have the goods, solutions which they claim can deliver an average ROI of over 45 to 1 (and which I have no reason to doubt). I wonder with returns like this why they would even take the chance of associating with such unsavory characters and partners like Americium that could damage their brand? It's a shame for the market and it's a shame for their investors given the distraction that this has created.
Incidentally, stay tuned for an announcement in the next week of the inaugural "Spend Matters Bake-Off". Our first one will do a deep dive into sourcing optimization solution providers and will take place over the course of a series of virtual and ultimately in-person RFI and demonstration rounds this spring.
- Jason Busch